Close button
<- Back

How to Clean Car Carpet Stains

How to Clean Car Carpet Stains - Cleaning car carpets
Steve Thompson Headshot
Steve Thompson
August 19, 2022

The interior of a car can get messy if you don't clean it regularly. Carpeting can get stained by food and drink spills, as well as from shoes and animal passengers. Imagine how dangerous driving can be if sticky material like a soft drink gets on the gas or brake pedals. Here's a look at how to clean car carpet stains and maintain a clean interior.

Carpet Cleaning Basics

Carpet Stain in the car

The most important thing to remember on how to clean car carpet stains is that when something spills on the carpet, you should clean it up right away. The longer food or spills stay on the carpet, the harder it will be to clean up. If you spill something, pour cold water on it immediately, and dab it with a towel to soak up the excess liquid. Pouring cold water on spills right after they happen will help prevent the liquid from drying and potentially turning into a permanent stain.

Cleaning Supplies for Car Carpet Cleaning

It's important to use the right cleaning supplies to clean the carpet, so you don't damage it. You should be aware that some cleaners contain harsh chemicals that harm you and the environment, so be sure to read the labels before using them. A do-it-yourself cleaner that works well includes a mixture of hot water, distilled white vinegar, and baking soda. Here are the basic items you'll need:

• Sponge, soft-bristle brush, upholstery bristle brush, and rotary brush

• Vacuum cleaner with a carpet attachment

• Carpet cleaner, glass cleaner, and stain remover

• Paper towels

• Spray bottle

• Mixing bowl

• Baking soda, dish soap, and distilled white vinegar

• Warm or hot water

Easy Steps for Carpet Cleaning

Cleaning car's carpet

The cleaning supplies you use will depend on the type of stains you have. Once you have assembled your cleaning supplies, follow these easy how-to clean car carpet stains tips:

  1. Prepare for interior car cleaning - First, remove items on the floor and under the car seats. Be sure to check under car mats and remove any loose dirt and debris.
  2. Vacuum the carpet - Before using the vacuum cleaner on the stained area, loosen tough stains with a detailing brush by applying a circular motion. When you vacuum, firmly press the end of the hose on the carpet and clean it with a go back and forth motion. While you’re at it, you should clean the steering wheel, pedals, and seats.
  3. Remove carpet stains - Pre-treat carpet stains with a commercial carpet cleaner, cold water, and a soft-bristled brush. Scrub the carpet with the brush gently, so you don't damage the carpet, and then wipe it with a towel until it's nearly dry.
  4. Apply carpet shampoo - Use a good quality shampoo you can purchase at a local auto parts store. It is possible to use regular hair shampoo if you dilute it with water, but be aware this cleaning solution can cause discoloration on your carpet.
  5. Let the carpet dry - Use a microfiber or dry towel to wipe away shampoo suds. Apply pressure on the carpet, so the cloth absorbs as much liquid as possible. Then open the windows to let the interior dry for a few hours.

Tips for Cleaning Various Types of Stains

  1. Ink Stains - You can use hair spray to clean ink stains. Just spray, wait for a few minutes, and then wipe with a damp cloth.
  2. Vomit - Use baking soda, cold water, and a towel.
  3. Blood Stains - Use dry laundry starch, cold water, and a vacuum or brush.
  4. Grease Stains - Applying cornmeal while using a vacuum.
  5. Mold and Dark Stains - Use a mixture of baking soda and warm water.
  6. Tough Stains - Rent a carpet steamer that will also help remove unpleasant odors.

Finally, finish the cleaning process by going over the area again with a vacuum.

Keeping Your Vehicle Spotless

Hand cleaning the exterior of the car

While the DIY method will save you money, it may not be enough to remove the stains from your carpet. If you want to save time, you can also take your vehicle to a professional auto detailer and let them do the work. Speaking of saving time, did you know you can eliminate DMV visits by going to your local AAA office?

Even though most cars have cup holders, people still find ways to spill drinks. Although it may be extreme, you could adopt a no-drinking policy for your car to prevent spills from happening. In either case, it’s always a good idea to keep a clean towel and spray bottle with water in your vehicle just in case.


Remember to clean up spills as soon as possible to prevent them from drying. We hope you found this guide on how to clean car carpet stains useful.

While driving, car wrecks can happen at any moment. If you are ever involved in a car accident, be sure to discuss the situation with an experienced legal professional at, who specializes in auto accidents and can help you win the maximum possible compensation from insurance companies.